art,  markers,  science

Marker Tie Dye

Marker tie dye is one of those activities that I can count on to keep children engaged no matter what. It’s a science experiment disguised as a magic trick and it requires very few supplies or materials.

The idea is simple; children use washable marker to color on a coffee filter and then they spray their coffee filter with water from a spray bottle.  When the children spray the coffee filter with water the colors from the markers bleed together, creating a tie dye look.  Once the coffee filters dry they are perfect for hanging in windows where light will shine through, or for other projects.

Over the years I’ve come up with a list of additional tips that are helpful when doing this particular project:

  • Have the children spray their coffee filters over trays that will catch the excess water. 
  • Set a spray limit (i.e.  “You can spray it three times”) this ensures that there is enough water to make the marker bleed, but also makes sure that you don’t have puddles of water in the trays. 
  • Prepare a drying rack or space for the coffee filters to hang while they dry. If you’re going to hang them to dry then make sure there are towels underneath the rack because they will drip. 
  • Encourage the children to cover as much of their coffee filter as possible.  The more marker that they have on their coffee filter, the more dramatic the tie dye effect will be. 
Have you done this activity? What tips or tricks would you add?

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